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Situated close to the magical national park, Manuel Antonio is one of the most picturesque parts of the coastline in the country, affording stunning views and beautiful beaches.
Depart London on your scheduled flight to San Jose via Newark, USA. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel on the outskirts of the city.
This morning you will leave San Jose and start your journey to the mystical town of Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast. A brief stop for breakfast will be made in a restaurant in the town of Guapiles for your first taste of the traditional gallo pinto (black beans and rice). Continuing your journey to the port you will travel through small villages as well as banana plantations. A gentle boat ride through the enchanting jungle canals will follow to arrive at your lodge in Tortuguero, one of the most remote places in Costa Rica. Enjoy lunch at your lodge and then a visit to Tortuguero town. With no cars or streets, the town is sandwiched between a Caribbean beach on one side and rivers and waterways on the other. Spend some time exploring this charming town where you may even be lucky enough to spot some turtles nesting on the beach if you are travelling between July and October. The rest of the late afternoon will be free to relax with dinner at your lodge.
Following an early breakfast, start your day with a fascinating hike through the trails of Tortuguero National Park, one of Costa Rica's most visited parks. Your guide will point out a diverse range of flora and fauna, from mantled howler monkeys swinging speedily through the trees to great green macaws singing to their mates, each visitor will spot something different to the next. Following lunch back at the lodge, the tour will return to the park to travel by boat through the maze of canals for the best chance to see all types of wildlife from the rainforest. Tortuguero literally means 'region of turtles' and it is no surprise that it is home to seven species of turtles as well as being the most important nesting site for the green sea turtle. The area also contains a great diversity of crustaceans and many species of freshwater fish.
Leaving your lodge this morning, you will travel back through the canals to the port where our ground transportation will meet you to start your trip to the impressive Arenal area. Stop en route at Guapiles to enjoy a typical Costa Rican lunch before continuing on to visit the town of Sarapiqui to learn how the pineapple industry has developed in Costa Rica - you may never choose a pineapple in the same way again! A final stop is then made at El Muelle with the chance to see giant green iguanas before arriving at the Arenal Volcano area to check-in to your hotel which is strategically located to fully appreciate the true splendour of the towering volcano above.
Following breakfast, start your day of spectacular experiences with a visit to La Fortuna Waterfall whose waters emerge from the dense jungle before plummeting into the emerald waters below. Your guide will lead you down the steps of the trail to the cool waters for a swim or a chance to relax in the shade and take in the tranquil surroundings before returning to the top. After lunch in a typical local restaurant there is a little time to explore the charming town of Fortuna which became the central town in the region after the 1968 eruption wiped out the surrounding settlements. In the afternoon you will be led along a private 4.5 kilometre path around the base of the volcano, passing through old lava trails from past eruptions and a chance to spot a wide variety of flora and fauna including sloths, monkeys, toucans, wild turkeys and other birds. Ascend to a lookout point to experience a fantastic view of the Arenal Volcano with its perfectly symmetrical shape making it a sightseer's dream. However tempting, don't take any lava blocks from the trail as it is considered to be bad luck! Once back at your hotel there is the option to relax in the Tabacon Hot Springs which is chargeable locally, or alternatively simply take some time to relax before your evening meal.
After breakfast, your tour will continue to the Monteverde Cloud Forest, a small community located at the top of the Tilaran Mountain Range and an important ecotourism destination in Costa Rica. Montervede is a world above the coastal towns at high altitude (1440m above sea level) allowing it to receive the steady supply of clouds and the life-giving moisture they contain. On the journey, take in the beautiful landscape of Lake Arenal and pass through some typical country villages. Your lunch stop will be at a wonderful local ranch, where you will be served a traditional local meal along with a folklore dance presentation by school children, plus the chance to visit the coffee plantations on the grounds. Before arriving at your hotel, you will be taken for an introduction to the town of Santa Elena, famous for one of South America's most resplendent birds, the Quetzal.
Today's itinerary takes you high above the clouds to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Here the eerie clouds hover above the canopy of the forest before condensing on leaves creating an extremely humid and moisture-rich environment perfect for an abundance of biodiversity to thrive in. These unique climates and specialized ecosystems create habitats found nowhere else on earth. With the help of your guide, you will be able to spot some of nature's most splendid creations, from wildly colourful butterflies, to low-lying lizards and fearless primates, this forest is said to be home to over 3,000 known species. The morning will be spent in Selvatura Park and explored via the 1.9 mile long treetop walkways taking you close to the cloud-forest canopy and allowing you excellent vistas of the forest below. Lunch today will be at a family run kitchen at an ecological sanctuary. Your food will be prepared in front of you whilst you learn about the traditional recipes and dishes along with the opportunity to join in, perhaps becoming an expert in tortilla making by the end of the meal! The afternoon will continue at ground level as a gentle hike will allow you to closely examine some of the 500 species of orchids growing amongst the 3,000 varieties of plants on the moist forest floor.
After breakfast begin the journey back to San Jose. On arrival you will commence a city tour to visit some of the residential and embassy areas before driving through the city past historical buildings and stopping in the downtown area for lunch at a local restaurant. Following some time for pictures around the national theatre you can enjoy a walk along the pedestrian avenue and take a local bus to visit some ancient houses. Finally the tour will finish at a souvenir centre where you can see a range of wood and leather craft markets. Here your tour finishes, your final dinner being taken at a local restaurant with your fellow group members with whom you can share and reminisce over the highlights of this spectacular trip.
After breakfast you will be transferred to San Jose Airport for your return flight to the UK via Newark.
A 90 day tourist visa is granted on arrival in Costa Rica. You must have at least 6 months validity on your passport. Further to visa advice should be sought from the applicable tourist authority for other nationalities and for general queries. We strongly advise you to check with your destinations Tourist Board or Embassy for the most up-to-date guidelines regarding required passport validity. Costa Rica has a departure tax of approximately USD $29. This must be paid in cash at the airport before you depart.
You must obtain suitable travel insurance prior to departure. Mercury Direct is partnered with Holiday Extras which offer insurance at the following prices:
|Age in Years||Up to 64||65 - 74||75 - 85|
|Up to 17 days cover||£39||£75||£129|
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
Your flight is to San Jose Airport with United Airlines (via Newark), departing from London Heathrow Terminal 2. Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage and hand luggage not exceeding (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm), in size. Weight restrictions will be finalized on E-ticket receipt. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. Check-in should be at least 3 hours before departure.
We recommend that you consult your local GP for advice on vaccinations and travel health before your departure.
This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves full days of sightseeing, often on foot and includes some climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.
The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 2, and the maximum will be 40. If in the unlikely event there are less than 2 people booked on your tour date then you may be asked to change to a different date. A full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.
The main tour is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival and will have a guide with you throughout the tour ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times. Accommodation and transfers are included for the Manuel Antonio extension but there is NO guide so your time will be free.
Currency is Costa Rican colon. Prices in Costa Rica are frequently listed in US dollars, especially in hotels and restaurants, where you can expect to pay international prices. US dollars are widely accepted and some ATMs dispense dollars. Credit cards are also accepted as a form of payment. It is very important that you budget carefully and ensure you have the right form or currency before you arrive in the country.
You will need to take money with you to cover any personal purchases such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £300 will be sufficient for the durations of the tour, depending on how much of a bargain-hunter you are!
From Apr '18 - Nov '18 you will spend an extra night in San Jose and will visit Irazu Volcano Park. The Manuel Antonio Beach Stay will also be 4-nights rather than 3-nights.
A 5-night extension is available between Jan '18 - Mar '18 Please speak to our reservations team for details.
Unfortunately, we do not have any places with no single supplements on this tour. However, if you are happy to share with another passenger of the same gender, then let us know at the time of booking and we will endeavour to find you a travelling partner. Alternatively, please ask about our single supplement prices in order to book your own twin room
If the group departure dates are not suitable for you and you would prefer a more personal and flexible experience then you can choose to book a private guide for your tour at a reasonable supplement.
Weather and Climate
Weather can vary quite considerably throughout the year, so please familiarise yourself with the climate charts below.